Adenovirus infections cause significant morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients, yet little is known about the immune response to adenovirus infections. We established a system for the generation of a cytotoxic immune response to adenovirus in vitro. Cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) were derived from normal donors by using peripheral blood dendritic cells as antigen-presenting cells. The CTLs were found to contain a mixture of effector cells that recognized virus peptides in the context of both class I and class II antigens. Endogenous viral gene expression was not required to sensitize cells to lysis by adenovirus-specific CTLs. CTLs raised against subgroup C adenovirus type 5 can lyse cells infected with subgroup B adenovirus type 11, indicating that viruses of different subgroups have epitopes in common. This system holds promise for defining the human immune response to adenovirus, including characterization of the viral protein(s) against which the response is generated, and the identity of the effector cells. Such studies are in progress.